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Traditionally, our standards have been based on publications from highly esteemed organizations, such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Health and Safety Performance Standards developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association. They assess quality in the areas of adult and child interaction, staff framing, health and safety; physical environment, administration, and parent and community relationships. A strong emphasis has been placed on current developments in health and safety, brain research and risk management. The NECPA Commission is dedicated to promoting high quality early childhood programs across the country and internationally.
This NECPA Standards publication defines the quality core standards of the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation system (NECPA) and should be used as a guide and resource by the field and by programs seeking NECPA Accreditation. The NECPA system continues to be based upon the key indicator (statistical predictor) model and a weighted system approach. Further, the NECPA system allows for narrative input from the verifier. This input ensures each program is assessed based on a complete understanding, including potentially mitigating factors that could impact Accreditation. This publication also includes an extensive glossary which offers definition of research based key terms.
The NECPA system is a statistical predictor system. The key indicators listed in the publication are the results of the past 25 years of research in the field of early care and education. These sources of information represent the current, best state of practice in the field of early care and education.
Presently the national database has 29 key concept areas which have been cross walked to the APHA/AAP national standards and nationally recognized quality standards. It is these indicators which provide the quality baseline used in the NECPA Accreditation. They are statistical predictors of quality programming. Compliance with these statistical predictors indicates overall compliance with the APHA/AAP and quality standards. Being out of compliance with these statistical predictors indicates non-compliance with APHA/AAP and quality standards. The most critical concept with the key indicator approach is that it is based upon a statistical predictor model. The statistical model does not compromise the comprehensive aspects of quality standards.
Before an early childhood program enrolls in the NECPA, it should have been in operation at least one full year. This will enable the program to fully develop its operational processes, orient its staff, establish the program’s mission and curriculum, and fully equip its facility.
Programs that offer a school-age component qualify for Accreditation, provided the majority of the children served in the school-age program are eight years old or younger.